Naming a community, in less than 11 letters

Throughout the site, I’ve been forced somewhat to use the unwieldy but accurate term to describe our community which is LGBTQIAPPQA. It covers every orientation and identity of our community, but it fails to be something that is easily sayable, describable or memorable unless you are an lgbtqiappqa rights activist like myself.

queer youth paradeI think its important not to shorten the term to LGBT because we are not all represented by groups like the HRC, there are other identities and orientations that need the same respect and support as the easy to define and pin down Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. I’m someone who is interested in queer culture, in questions of where our society might go, thinking deeply about how a post-orientation, post-rigid identity society might look.

There’s lots of talk about trying to find a word to describe the community and communal identity, and while words like “Rainbow” or “United” sound nice, but words have need to have power and meaning. There is a word, that some already use as an umbrella term that I think is very appropriate, very apt, and all inclusive.

celebrate who we are

Every one of us has been described by this pejorative and offensive word. Its been spat, hurled and spray-painted to make us afraid and ashamed, and its been used in our most memorable chant, “We’re here, we’re ****, get used to it”. During the lavender scare pogroms and before, it was all about hunting those ****s. Before we had the name Gay, Transgender, before we were recognised as more than a pathology we were ****.

So from now on, when I say Queer, it means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Ally, Pansexual, Polyamorous, Queer, Asexual and everything between. This isn’t about being accepted as what we are in a hetero-normative world, its about being who we are in a better world that we are helping build.

We’re here we’re queer, and we are united for equal rights and acceptance for all of us.

Joel Burns talks on Anoka-Hennepin and their Section 28-esque policy

When I started No More Lost, it was in part inspired by Joel Burns incredible coming out story and somewhat impromptu “It Gets Better Video”. He stood up and said who he was, and I felt like I could either stay in the safeish closet of being a somewhat stealthy lesbian transwoman, or I could be true, honest and open about who I am.

Today, there’s a crisis going on in Anoka-Hennepin school district, where the policy that forbids teachers from offering any support to LGBTQIAPPQA students, is having a devastating effect on those most vulnerable of students. Seven recent LGBTQIAPPQA suicides are still not enough to repeal this regressive and damaging policy.

Joel Burns who has become a voice on equality talked with Lawrence O’Donnell about the changes that vitally and immediately need to happen, for the students and the teachers who are currently unable to help, because if they dare to do so, their jobs may be forfeited.

Joel is right on the ball, and the statistics are frightening…

Its Discrimination, Period!

repeal section 28 pink bus from protest in picadilly circus

Not so long ago

Despite this being the 21st century, in one of the most progressive liberal societies on earth, and yet a new minor undercurrent of homophobia is being given credence by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. While we are not too many years away from the days of “Section 28”, disparity in age of consent laws, and absolutely no chance of marriage equality, under the last Conservative government, by the time the Conservatives regained power the country had changed fundamentally.

In 2010 Britain, homophobia is targeted in schools, both head on, and in more and more schools by education programs. Hate crimes and Employment protections are sacrosanct, and we have marriage equality in all but name. Now despite the perversions of anglicanism across the world, the Church of England has been a supporter of basic respect and rights, if not full equality, and has made it clear that it is not its place to enforce its views on the country. However there are always other sects of christianity, who are frankly not as progressive and evolved as the C of E, or even the Catholic Church. To certain Pentecostals, Baptists and other Evangelicals the Bible is treated as word for word perfect, rather than the views of progressive sects, being highly open to interpretation, and full of metaphors and parables.

Some people who hold these stricter views are coming into conflict with 21st century and LGBTQIAPPQA people no-longer to be satisfied with discrimination a probability of daily life.  There was a time that a gay or lesbian couple would struggle to get a hotel room, get served in a restaurant, or hospital visitation rights, and brave people have fought for basic rights and protections.

sheffield mothers against section 28

Mothers who did think about their children

Freedom of religion is a limited and specific scope right, that is very important to British Society, and should you remain quietly in your home and job, not bringing your faith out into the real world, then you are as free as a bird to practice your faith, however you are expected if you are working in a business or even more so a public office, to leave you faith at the door.

As per normal hypocrisy comes into play, these are not foster carers demanding the right stone unruly children, or wedding chefs refusing to cook with shrimp, or even registrars complaining that their uniform requires them to wear 2 different kinds of fabric. No those issue, which should come up with all of these “Bible Believing” people don’t have a problem with stoning children, seafood, or sumptuary laws, they have a problem with  treating gay people with the simple basic respect they are due.

The EHRC rather than standing up against bigotry, seeks to find ways to smooth over issues of homophobia rather than really address them. So a registrar who refuses to officiate a gay wedding would not be fired for refusing to do their job, but instead , give the shift to an un-bigoted registrar. This sounds like a nice and equitable solution, nobody gets hurt, except the British values of justice and fairplay.

Remember David Cameron supported section 28, don't trust a tory

Tory Influence on EHRC?

Here’s a simple test for discriminatory behaviour, if you replace gay, with race, does what you are asking sound reasonable. “A registrar refuses to marry a couple because she believes interracial marriage is wrong” is horrific and “A registrar refuses to marry a couple because she believes gay marriage is wrong” is equally horrific.

There are certain restrictions placed on business practices, be they health and safety, employment protections or non-discrimination in provisions of service. Now if you are a registrar you are expected to do your job and marry people, without prejudice, and you are not entitled to a right to refuse to do your job. A vegan should not work in a slaughter house, a pacifist should not join the army, and someone who refuses to perform marriage ceremonies should not be a registrar.

Lillian Ladele

Magistrate who refused to do her job

In business provision its the same, you don’t get to decided whether to serve someone based on your prejudices, whether its race, gender, or sexuality. If you are a couples counsellor, you don’t get to say “I won’t provide therapy for gay couples” and more than you could say “I won’t provide therapy for interracial couples”.

Its clear that many of the people that are turning to a new homophobic right wing christian group called Christian Concern, are sold on the lie that being LGBTQIAPPQA is a choice, no matter the mountains of evidence to the contrary. The director and co-founder of Christian Concern  stated “Race is totally different from sexual orientation practice, homosexual practice”.

Its sad to see that the good name and reputation for tolerance and acceptance of Christianity in the UK brought into disrepute by groups like this who seem to be modelled around hate groups in the US like Focus on the Family, American Family Association and the ACLJ.

This is discrimination, this is wrong, and its a tragedy that the EHRC has put forward such a policy that suggests discrimination is acceptable, and equally tragic that 13 MPs have signed the policy. Its discrimination plain and simple.